The ‘West’ vs Russia

Today is Saturday, September 7, 2013. It’s a mystery to me why in Europe, North America and South America over the last thirty years there has been such a quick change of heart and mind about homosexuality, gay people, marriage equality, etc., and in places like Uganda, Nigeria, and other African nations and then Russia, the cultural climate has gotten very cold towards gay people. Especially, when it comes to Russia, I just don’t understand. They have fairly successfully come out from under the oppression of the Soviet era over the last twenty years, yet their intellectual understanding of homosexuality is stuck in early to mid 20th century. The rhetoric coming from their leadership makes it clear they have not read the studies in sexuality that have been conducted in the West since the 1940s. Among Russians there is still an unfounded connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. They still believe the old Freudian nonsense that all men are ‘latently homosexual’ and it only takes a little recruiting, a little ‘gay propaganda’, to take young boys to the dark side. They still believe that same-gender love and attraction are perversions and not just another natural orientation to the world. They still believe all this despite the scientific evidence to the contrary.  The new, anti-gay law in Russia reflects that ignorance and is the basis for the world-wide negative reaction to the law and questions about the Sochi Olympics.  World leaders reportedly have brought up the problem to Putin at the G20 conference in St. Petersburg and have met with LBGT community representatives there. But it is now clear that this codified homophobia in Russia will continue to be a problem for them within the international community.

There are religious elements in North and South America and in Europe that reject the scientific conclusions and they, too, believe like the Russians that homosexuality is not just a ‘sin’ but a perversion, illness, and yet also a ‘choice.’  Those anti-gay voices, however, are sounding shrill, ignorant and anachronistic in 2013 and I don’t worry about it here. I do worry about LBGT people in Russia. Marriage equality is spreading from state to state in the U.S., supported by Supreme Court decisions and a federal Justice Department. My husband and I, after seventeen years together, just got married on May 4th of this year in Washington State where marriage equality exists. With the changes in federal policy and rules as a result of the Supreme Court decisions in June, we are now treated no differently than any hetero married couple.  So now, any anti-gay religious fanatics really can’t bully us anymore as a result. In fact, here in ‘the West’ people are beginning to understand exactly what ‘homophobia’ is and that those who suffer from it are being inhumane and ignorant. Perhaps we should be studying homophobia to find out if homophobes are perverted, ill and in need of psychological treatment. (I say that with tongue in cheek! I really don’t think that would be helpful!)

In any case, there has been a fundamental cultural shift in the West and I only hope and pray places like Russia and Uganda also make a leap forward into the 21st Century.  I’ll offer you a little entertainment here to illustrate just how far we have come in the U.S.  That a musician could make a music video that centers on the attraction of two young men is a testament to our cultural progress.

One thought on “The ‘West’ vs Russia

  1. Tory

    Sad… but we have much the same &#tn80;wi22er” in Krakow, Poland. I had been to St. Petersburg two years ago – and IMO it is “samyi priekrasnyi gorod w mirie” – with or without the snow Greets and happy New Year!!!


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